So they're in. After 5 straight losses (that last one is on Vicino) and a week of pitching concerns, the Sox clinched a playoff spot after a 5-2 Rangers loss. Which means baseball, truly the sport of averages, of evening out, will once again, as though 162 games were just meaningless forms, pit the Angels against the Sox to kick off October.
And I have to say, I might be going against the tide a bit here, but I like the way the Sox did it. I think the only way to describe them right now is to say they're playing with a sense of aristocratic ease.
Think about it. First, they allow others to do the work. They hardly lifted a finger the last week. I can say that for certain since I was about twenty yards away from them on Sunday, the only really close game of this stretch, and I'll bet you've never seen quite so many yawns out of a professional dugout. They sort of finished off this season like a British lord, stretched on a divan in a silk robe, with a snifter of brandy, watching the servants flit about in anticipation of a fox hunt or something. I liked it.
Second, they still got some style points. Last night in the 8th, they gave you a bit of flash, reminding you what pretty baseball they can play. But they made their point. To have actually won the game would have been ostentatious. It's like Cassius Clay knocking out Sonny Liston. That big bear of a man was swirling down toward the mat and Clay had his fist raised and could have pounded him into oblivion at any moment in that sequence, but it would have been superfluous, and for that reason philistine. He compared brushes to paint strokes. The Sox already had their 2009 masterpiece complete. No need to ruin it with a victory.
So I'm gonna stick with my gut on this one: the Sox are the class of the 2009 season. They do what's necessary, and they do it with a sense of aristocratic ease. And if they don't watch the hell out, they could get smacked with the business side of a proletarian revolution starting real soon.